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Life Habits To Make You Live Longer

Life Habits To Make You Live Longer

People who stick to five healthy habits in adulthood can add more than a decade to their lives, according to a major study into the impact behaviour has on lifespan.

The American healthcare system focuses mostly on drug discovery and disease management, but the study's authors believe an increased emphasis on disease prevention could help life expectancy trends. But for those who adopted all five, life expectancy at age 50 was projected to be 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men.

"Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in United States adults", the study said.

Background-Americans have a shorter life expectancy compared with residents of nearly all other high-income countries. For instance, it only takes 30 minutes of brisk walking a day to meet the moderate exercise demand and reap the longevity benefits associated with regular exercise.

The study analyzes five factors that could affect a person's life expectancy.

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For the participants who didn't adopt any of these low-risk lifestyle factors, the researchers estimated that life expectancy at age 50 was 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men.

The researchers combined data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study - ongoing studies of dietary, lifestyle, and medical data in thousands of USA adults - with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and mortality info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "But the surprising thing was how huge the effect was", said Meir Stampfer, a co-author on the study and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

The researchers also found that both women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer, when compared with those with had the least healthy lifestyles.

The average life expectancy for Americans is 79 years - lower when compared to residents of nearly all other high-income countries.

Life expectancy at the time of birth in the US rose from 63 years in 1940 to 79 years in 2014. Only 8% of the general population followed all five healthy habits. The population-attributable risk for non-adherence to five low-risk factors was 60.7, 51.7, and 71.7 percent, respectively, for all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality.

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